It’s winter, a time for holiday cards and, less welcome, property tax bills. This time next year you may look back fondly at your tax bill as the Governor, Speaker of the House, and legislators from Beaverton and Hood River have all indicated they want to revisit our property tax system. Their public justification is that “gentrification” has resulted in “those homeowners” not “paying their fair share.” Of course, “gentrification” is a code word for homeowners in inner N/NE Portland; namely, us. To see how this might affect you and your neighbors, look at the difference between the “assessed value” and “market value” of your home. “Reform” will likely reset assessed value to market value so the difference (currently about 4 times for an older Eliot home), is how much taxes could increase; 400%!
Being a senior citizen leads me to avoid risky behavior. I was never a skateboarder and my few attempts at rollerblading ended in scrapes and torn trousers. The idea of balancing on a narrow, two-wheeled platform that moved seemed insane. However, the recent favorable report about Portland’s scooter trial forced me to accept a neighbor’s invitation to test drive one. Like many residents, I begrudge riders on sidewalks, scooters blocking sidewalks, and worse, blocking curb cuts for strollers and wheelchairs. However, the report indicated users surveyed believe these could address the “last mile” problem keeping more city residents from using mass transit or their personal vehicle. So, time to put myself at risk to determine the truth for myself.
There are two new proposals for changes to zoning codes in residential zones; Better Housing by Design and the Residential Infill project. The recently (almost) completed Comprehensive Plan process changed “zoning;” where housing, commercial, and industrial uses can be located and the level of development intensity in each. Residential zones are split between “single family” zones (R2.5, R5, and R10) and “multi-family zones” (R3, R2, R1, and RH) – each zone is listed from lowest to highest development density. Roughly half of Eliot’s residential lots are expected to be rezoned to R 2.5 from the current R2 zone. The rest of Eliot’s residential zones are R 2 or higher. In addition, most of the properties along MLK and Williams/Vancouver are zoned CM for mixed use projects up to 65’ tall.
Eliot Land Use and Transportation Committee
Minutes for November 14, 2016
Submitted by Vice-chair, Mike Warwick
7:15 pm Vice-chair Warwick called the meeting to order before a quorum was present in order to proceed with Emanuel Hospital’s annual review, as required by the Institutional Management Plan (IMP) it has with Eliot and Boise Neighborhood Associations.
Present: Mike, Montse, Phil, and Paul. Visitors from Emanuel were present as was one neighbor/resident.
The future of Eliot was hotly debated during the NE Quadrant (NEQ) plan process with most of the NE neighborhood representatives opposing widening I-5, replacement of the overpasses with “lids,” and the Hancock overcrossing. The NEQ increased allowed building height and density along Broadway and in the area across Broadway from the Rose Quarter. City Planners believe the new lid and Hancock extension will “reconnect” Eliot to a new “Pearl District East” development across Broadway from the Rose Quarter and along Broadway on Eliot’s southern edge.
The recently adopted NE Quadrant Plan (a part of the Central City and Comprehensive Plans) was conducted in cooperation with the Transportation offices of the State (ODOT) and City (PDOT) to coordinate ODOT’s plans to expand capacity on I-5 through the Rose Quarter and the I-5 ramps with PDOT’s plans for the area between at Broadway/Weidler, an area known as “the Box”.
Residents of south Eliot and others may have noticed all of the colored paint on the street, sidewalk and even parking strips as well as surveyors blocking traffic on MLK weekend mornings. This is all part of planning for the City’s South Eliot Sewer and Storm Water Project. The project is tentatively scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017, so it is a ways off.
Don’t know who to call to complain about graffiti or abandoned cars or other urban nuisances? Well, there is a “app” for that. The app is provided through PBOT so the reports are limited to abandoned autos, debris in the road, graffiti, illegal parking, park maintenance needs, plugged street drains, potholes, sidewalk complaints and failed or failing streetlights.
We are in year 3 of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan process, which is almost 5 years late, mostly due to Portland’s famous “process.” The good news is that process provided Eliot with the opportunity to shape the Plan in more favorable ways. I will end with the bad news.
The old bank building on the corner of MLK and Russell where the Marinello School of Beauty used to be has been sold. It was purchased by a long time business owner in Eliot who has rented it as office space for himself and Fishpeople, a packaged seafood company.
“It is difficult to predict, especially about the future.”
This quote is rooted in a Danish proverb according to the ever- reliable internet, although it has been attributed to a number of notables. Regardless, it is true. I personally subscribe to the maxim “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” One of Eliot’s predominantly German residents from the 1920s would still recognize many of Eliot’s homes, but would miss the streetcars along MLK and other streets, and the residential community that used to exist west of the gulch occupied by I-5. The number of automobiles would be a shock as would the lack of livestock in rear yards. Even indoor plumbing would be novel. But, their Eliot would still look a lot like ours. Many of the houses would be the same along with the streets, but the street names have changed over the years.